U.S. stocks snapped a two-day losing streak Wednesday as a better-than-expected quarterly earnings report from Alcoa, one of the world's largest aluminum makers that is listed at the New York Stock Exchange, pointed to a better outlook for world demand.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 61.66 points, or 0.46 percent, to 13,390.51. The Standard & Poor's 500-stock Index added 3.87 points, or 0.27 percent, to 1,461.02. The Nasdaq Composite Index was up 14 points, or 0.45 percent, to 3,105.81.
The market was subdued in the previous two sessions by a pessimistic mood before the new corporate earnings report season started Tuesday, when Alcoa, the world's third-largest aluminum producer, took the lead in releasing its fourth quarterly earnings report at the closing bell of the NYSE.
Alcoa said in the Tuesday's report that its fourth-quarter net income was 242 million U.S. dollars, or 0.21 dollar per share, while revenue was 5.9 billion dollars, better than the 5.6-billion- dollar market expectations.
The leading aluminum maker also expects that the global demand for the metal will continue to grow this year, saying that China demand is coming back and the North American building industry is showing potential.
Alcoa is considered to have begun the new corporate earnings report season with a positive tone. As it supplies numerous key industries, investors can get clues about economic prospects through studying the results of the company.
Shares of the U.S. aluminum giant inched down 0.11 percent, after moving a bit higher in Tuesday's after-hours trading.
Apollo Group slid 7.74 percent, a day after the commercial education company reported quarterly profits and revenue that beat market estimates but provided a full-year revenue outlook below forecasts.
Shares of Boeing rallied 3.52 percent, as the company on Wednesday said it had "extreme confidence" in the innovative design and technology used in its 787 Dreamliner jet, responding to its three incidents in three days.
Investors were still awaiting to see results from more major companies, striving to get a better picture of how corporate America fared in the fragile global economy.